Can y’all believe it’s Thanksgiving already? Where the heck did the year go?
Here’s your weekly round-up of good news. Lots of good stuff this week:
• As mentioned yesterday, some of the gridlock which has paralyzed Washington will now come to an end. Norm Ornstein, who is with the American Enterprise Institute, not exactly a liberal outfit, blames the Republicans. Interesting read:
“For whatever reason, the Republicans decided to go nuclear first, with this utterly unnecessary violation of their own agreement and open decision to block the president from filling vacancies for his entire term, no matter how well qualified the nominees,” Ornstein told TPM in an email. “It was a set of actions begging for a return nuclear response.”
He also speculated that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) secretly wanted Democrats to go nuclear so he could use the same tactic to end the filibuster entirely if and when Republicans take the majority.
“McConnell’s threat, it seems to me, makes clear the strategy: let Dems take the first step, and we will then bear no blame when we entirely blow up the Senate’s rules after we take all the reins of power,” he said. “That other Republicans like Corker, McCain, Alexander, Murkowski and so on, went along, shows how much the radicals and anti-institutionalists now dominate the Republican Party. Which is sad indeed.”
Hmm… Verry interesting.
• Hydrogen fuel cell cars are here. This is a huge game-changer. While I love my EV, I know range issues and recharging time makes it impractical for some. And maybe this can wipe those ridiculous America’s Natural Gas ads off my TeeVee about how you can feel like you’re “doing your part” for the environment by riding a bus fueled by natural gas fracked out of the ground. Pfft.
• The Canadian province of Ontario has announced it will shutter its last operating coal plant. Hard to imagine that once upon a time the world was fueled by whale oil. Looks like coal is going the way of that old energy source.
• Xcel Energy unveils a plan to roll out “community solar gardens” to help it comply with the state’s renewable energy law. I’m trying to sort out how I think about this: seems like a waste of open space, when there’s so much rooftop real estate available? Why use up open land when you can pop solar panels on a warehouse, school or convention center rooftop? Still, it’s worth watching.
• Eighty years after the fact, the state of Alabama has issued posthumous pardons to three of the Scottsboro boys.
• The Church of England votes to approve ordaining women as bishops.
• Five of six British Greenpeace protestors have been released from a Russian prison. Twenty-eight protestors and two journalists were arrested at a protest of Arctic oil drilling back in September.
• Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the state’s marriage equality bill into law. It goes into effect June 14. 2014.
• Voters in Albuquerque overwhelmingly rejected a controversial measure that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. The measure was defeated 55% to 45%.
• The first four female Marines to complete infantry training are preparing to graduate.
• Monty Python is officially reuniting.
• TVA says it’s not going to finish building an Alabama nuclear plant, even turning down a bazillionaire’s offer of private financing to do so. Why? Power demand has dropped and the costs to complete the plant have doubled. Nuclear power does not make economic sense, folks. Get over it.
• Openly gay teen scientist Jack Andraka, who developed a new way to detect pancreatic cancer, has been honored by the Vatican as a “positive role model.”
• Obamacare enrollment is surging in some states, despite the problems with the federal website.
• One of Leonardo da Vinci’s many inventions, a musical instrument called the “viola organista,” has finally been built. You can watch a video of the instrument at the link.
• A rare albino kangaroo has survived in the Australian wild, with a little help from its friends:
• Also from Australia, the Lazarus Project has brought back to life a frog which has been extinct since 1983.
Good News, Tennessee Edition:
• Probably not a shocker but newcomer Raumesh Akbari, a Memphis attorney and Democrat, overwhelmingly won the special election to represent District 91 in the Tennessee State House. The seat was left vacant after Rep. Lois DeBerry, also a Democrat, died of cancer back in July.
• Three Tennesseans were honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a ceremony at the White House this week: country icon Loretta Lynn, civil rights leader C.T. Vivian, and media mogul Oprah Winfrey.
• Chattanooga’s city council approved benefits for same sex partners of city employees.
• Wow, Memphis electricity users might be able to buy wind power from Oklahoma. You know why Oklahoma is so windy, don’t you? ‘Cause Kansas sucks and Texas blows … (old joke, sorry, couldn’t help it.)
This week’s cool video comes courtesy of GoldieBlox, a toy maker who believes that girls deserve more choices in the toy box besides dolls and pink princess crap. I love it!